Text description provided by the architects. Recently a young couple came to our office telling us that they would like to leave their routine jobs and start their own new business. They told us about their dream to have a small hostel chain offering compact but super comfortable beds for travelers of different ages. They named their dream project “YIM”, meaning “SMILE” in Thai. The very first one is Yim Huai Khwang. It is named after the bustling district of Bangkok where the hostel situates. Shortly, there will be few more to come and locations will always be added after “YIM.” This primary move is to take over the 20+ year old shop house and transform it into a 16 room pilot hostel. Previously the building was a rent condominium sales office.
The conversion process of exterior and interior in this project has a lot to do with ‘archiving’, meaning the building will have to look fresh and different from what it used to be while many of old elements are to be kept intact. The project is nicknamed, “Batman hostel”, a version of the superhero that still shows a lot of Bruce Wayne under the black suit. Very clearly, the project is a transformation process that hint to the tracing back of its original condition.
The main operation for the exterior is to reveal the original modernist façade of the existing building which has a very strong expression of its time. The bamboo panels, typically hand-made and used in small houses in rural area of Thailand, are inserted behind the existing sunshade to make contrast background and emphasize the form of the existing architecture that we admire. The bamboo walls also act as defining frames of the hostel rooms giving privacy between each unit.
The interior is about juxtaposition of different concepts. The marble reception counter left from the previous renter is kept attached to the new collage wall made of old fashion & design magazines. Separating by the giant clock clad with colorful toys, guest dining area is an all-white vintage tile space. Just a few meters away, the public area of the hostel is a bombarded with vibrant colors; the turquoise stair well, the orange hall on 2nd floor and the yellow corridor on 3rd. Inside the 16 hostel rooms are kept simple using white and natural wood colors to make the compact rooms feel spacious. 6 bunk beds are combined and built in capsule-like units to add little more privacy.
Staying in the hostel these days is more than just about budget sleeping, but experiences what the place has to offer. In a way, Yim Huay Khwang Hostel is trying to prove that.